Constable Kyle Cunningham gave a presentation on front line policing at last week’s police board meeting. 

Moose Jaw has two patrol teams working in 12-hour shifts, with eight members on each team including a staff sergeant, sergeant, and six constables. “In addition, there’d be coverage with our PACT team, it overlaps – and a CTSS traffic member that often overlaps teams as well,” said Lawrence.  

Cunningham said that the patrol unit typically fields 40 to 50 calls every day. “Our calls for service are up, our demands are up – I think from the community, our expectations are up, and generally, that’s what the public expects of us.” 

Cunningham said that there are calls that can be time intensive. “Some calls can be managed in a minute or two – those ones are easy. Once you’re writing production orders, for warrants, running around getting video from a bunch of places, multiple witness statements – those types of things take time.” 

Police triage incoming calls for service, sending members out based on priority rather than call order. “Patrol is really so much of what we do here, with that front line response, that priority response – be it alarm calls, fires, collisions, break-and-enters in progress, assaults – those sorts of active things that are happening that we need to jump and run right now.” 

He pointed to ways in which the patrol members are being taxed by competing demands on their time. “Two members are taking a bunch of people to court right now, which is pulling a couple of people off the street from their duties.” 

Incoming recruits from the police college will start off working for the patrol unit, and Cunningham said that MJPS differs from larger police agencies in that calls typically belong to a single officer. “An advantage to our agency is, from start to finish, your call is your call.” 

“In doing so, you get burdened by it a little bit, because it’s a lot of work, especially for junior officers, to understand the flow of all that information, and how fast that needs to be done.”  

He added that sometimes officers can be interrupted in the workflow for files as calls come in. Larger files are passed on to the Criminal Investigation Section. 

Commissioner Doug Blanc commented on files belonging to members. “I hear some complaints sometimes, where ‘oh, well the police came and investigated something, and then I don’t hear anything for a long time’." 

Lawrence said that if a call is more immediate and needs active investigation, those files are passed on to the incoming team. “Other things where they’re done, and there’s maybe no active investigative pieces that we can do for the moment, then we’ll keep that file for the next day, or potentially the next rotation.” 

Lawrence spoke about the challenges with the customer service piece of investigation. “Sometimes we get caught up in that next call mentality, where we’re just busy moving forward, because the radio is always going off.” 

The police have seen a 3.4 per cent increase in calls compared to this time last year, receiving just over 200 calls more since the start of the year.